Nehawu threatens nationwide strike in five days’ time

Members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union can be seen protesting outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria on their national day of action, 3 September 2020. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The unions demand mechanisms in place for workers dealing with Covid-19.

Workers affiliated with Nehawu (National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union) have picketed outside the Union Buildings in what they call the National Day of Action against PPE corruption and better working conditions for frontline workers.

The Nehawu members, in solidarity with SACP (South African Communist Party), Cosatu (Congress of South African Trade Unions) and Sasco (South African Students Congress), among others, marched to the Union buildings to hand over a memorandum of demands to President Cyril Ramaphosa for him to take their issues seriously.

Nehawu regional chairperson Ivan Ramogala said to hoards of supporters that public service servants have been working during the Covid-19 pandemic, taking care of the masses.

“We must fight for what we want!”

He said government appeared to be anti-worker.

Deputy Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla, alongside acting DG in the Presidency, Lusanda Mxenge was with the unions to accept their memorandum, demanding more money for frontline workers who claimed to be at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Parts of the demands include Nehawu demanding proper Personal Protective Equipment for health workers, for government to address mounting allegations of corruption linked to the procurement of PPE’s and the adequate compensation for healthcare workers who since the dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic have faced intense strain.

The unions also demand mechanisms in place for workers dealing with Covid-19, pre and post Covid-19 infections, as well as for PPE tenders to be centralised to a remedy for reported corruption.

Unions on the ground have stressed government would be given about five days to respond to their memorandum of demands or face mass stay-aways from affiliates in various sectors.

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